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28 martie – 2 aprilie 2017 / Cinema Muzeul Țăranului & Cinema Elvire Popesco / ediția a 7-a

Inovația românească trece granițele. Proiecție BIEFF la Spotlight: Romania, în Haga

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Within the theme and focus of its third edition – FILM & EXPERIMENT Spotlight: Romania, the yearly showcase for contemporary Romanian cinema taking place in The Hague, has invited Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival BIEFF to present a series of works as this year’s guest festival.
This edition is dedicated to alternative cinema, to directors and artists who engage in a type of filmmaking which is regarded as different than the established Romanian New Wave. Spotlight: Romania is a project by EASTWARDS, a cultural initiative promoting contemporary Eastern European art and culture in the Netherlands. Facebook event.

As a response to this kind invitation and in line with its constant and active mission to promote Romanian innovative filmmaking and visual art internationally, BIEFF will present in The Hague a selection of cinematic experiments – hybrid works, crossing the boundaries between fiction, documentary and conceptual art, mixing live action with animated and digital collages, personal video diaries, found footage, fashion films and more. Under the title BREAKING THE WAVE, the programme includes some of the most well-received works signed by Romanian filmmakers and visual artists which have been part of BIEFF’s International Competition during the last few years, works which have also been presented in prestigious festivals and museums, galleries and other art institutions around the world.
The screening will take place on Saturday, October 28th, from 6:30pm, in De Nieuwe Regentes Theater (Weimarstraat 63, The Hague) and will be followed by a talk with Dan Angelescu, BIEFF Festival Manager & Associate Curator. Four of the works will also be available for viewing during October 27th and 28th in De Nieuwe Regente’s exhibition space, Het Diepe.

A veritable exercise in self-exorcism, I Made You, I Kill You – the Audience Award winner at BIEFF 2017 – gives a moving personal account of the filmmaker’s difficult childhood. A collage of family photos and children's drawings mixed with animation and with a touch of surrealism, this arresting cinematic experience carries the unmistakable signature of Alexandru Petru Bădeliță – an artist BIEFF has been constantly supporting ever since his very first work. In a rich profusion of narrative layers and artistic techniques, the film explores the power of life and death held by a paterfamilias over the members of his family. Made at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains, the film casts a poignant uncompromising look at a disturbing world where such experiences are not the exception, but the norm. (Adina Marin, BIEFF 2017) I Made You, I Kill You has had a very successful run in the festival circuit, being selected in Clermont-Ferrand, Amsterdam (IDFA), Tampere, Palm Springs, Ann Arbor, Vienna (VIS) and, most recently, in Uppsala International Short Film Festival, among others.

Renowned artist and curator Călin Dan, currently the Director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art of Romania (MNAC Bucharest), marked his return to BIEFF with Still Life, Poire Gelée, a meditative companion-piece to his 2012 film Still Life, 20th C. Where the former film operated within the tradition of fiction and documentary cinema, Still Life, Poire Gelée goes deeper within the conceptual realm of video art. Ideas of architectural form, memory and maternal lineage all converge in the symbolic life-cycle depicted the gradual build-up and eventual erosion of a mound of white powder. Beneath it all lies the female form, tranquil and contemplative, pulsating to the rhythm of life within the granules of time. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2016)

Produced by the creative group Warden Collective and starring the two well-known Romanian actresses Luminița Gheorghiu (The Death of Mr. Lăzărescu, Child's Pose) and Monica Bîrlădeanu (Of Snails and Men, Francesca) in the lead parts, The Matriarch is a fashion film with horror elements, exploring the grotesque-diva-seen-as-a-sex-predator iconography, in a baroque stylistic key, reminding of the fascinating universe of Erwin Olaf's photography. Addressing the issue of the voyeur viewer, filmmaker Barna Nemethi juggles in slow-motion with the iconic image of the femme fatale and with the myth of the satyr. In an unsettling and seductive mixture of grotesque and sensuality, the aging diva has to confront self-loathing when facing a younger version of herself. (Andreea Mihalcea, BIEFF 2013)

How can one imagine the future in an insular, totalitarian country such as North Korea, where the past attests to a present where (r)evolution and progress are suppressed? For renowned Romanian-French artist Mihai Grecu, the answer comes from within, as his film The Reflection of Power – winner of the Award for Best Romanian Filmmaker at BIEFF 2016 – holds a reflective mirror to the absolute and megalomaniac power of the state. All alone and devoid of human presence, the dictatorial monuments exhude an unshakeable folie-de-grandeur that starts to be slowly swallowed up by an incoming Biblical flood. Poetic and striking in its realism, The Reflection of Power subverts the utopic dimension of landscape art. Sealed off from the outside world, the resilience of totalitarianism becomes an Achille’s heel, as it symbolically swallows itself, remaining but a faded glory. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2016). Winner of the Award of Distinction at Ars Electronica 2015, screened in Clermont-Ferrand, Annecy Animation Festival, DokuFest Kosovo, Festival du Nouveau Cinéma Montreal, Ars Electronica Linz etc.

In Sisyphus 2.0 – the winner of the Award for Best Romanian Filmmaker at BIEFF 2017 Luiza Pârvu and Toma Peiu are drawing on Albert Camus’ eponymous text to create a visual compendium of humanity’s search for meaning. Made with real surveillance footage, the film assumes its perspective’s omniscience, beginning as a series of quotidian assemblages of a-day-in-a-life of the global citizens, embraced by a voice-over retelling of the Sisyphus myth. With deep humanism and sensibility, the authors question the meaning of the search, as man-made violence and natural cataclysms – the other side of humanity’s essential creative impulse – jolt the daily existence of the surveilled humans. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2017)

A fictional home movie shot throughout a weekend in the countryside, This Time, Last Year depicts an almost symbiotic friendship between two girls and what happens when a third person comes between them. The film becomes an audio-visual transposition of a diary page in which memories and feelings are connected in an elliptical way, capturing the irrationality inherent to love. With a raw aesthetic at the border between diary film and found footage, This Time, Last Year by Ana Maria Savin explores not only the ties of human attachment and its consequences, but also the implications of memory and its deceitful alterations. Screened in goEast Film Festival Wiesbaden and Stuttgarter Filmwinter – Festival for Expanded Media.

Under the balmy skies of the American Dream, Romanian filmmaker Mara Trifu reaches for the stars in Perfection Is Forever, an acutely observant allegory for our endless search for beauty and wholeness. Within Los Angeles’ culture of glamour and alter-egos, we’re guided by two crusaders of the ideal: a Superman impersonator and drag-queen MonaLiza Doomsday. Captured in their environment on the periphery of downtown’s hustle-and-bustle, they take us through their rituals of beautification as breasts are tucked, make-up is applied and the all-important hair products produce the Superman curl. Out in the open, society calls Action! and the role-playing performance begins. Trifu’s trademark approach of lensing documentary through the magical gives a poignant touch to the film’s closing message: there is, indeed, a Superman in all of us. (Andrei Tănăsescu, BIEFF 2016) Screened at the prestigious Jihlava International Documentary Film Festival, Chicago International Film Festival and Sheffield International Documentary Festival.